Stuart Todd | A Question Of Time

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Rock: Acoustic Pop: Folky Pop Moods: Type: Acoustic
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A Question Of Time

by Stuart Todd

Genre: Rock: Acoustic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Dance Like A Star
4:28 $0.99
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2. A Question of Time
3:10 $0.99
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3. Calm Before the Storm
4:12 $0.99
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4. Three Silver Letters
3:00 $0.99
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5. Life On the Line
2:54 $0.99
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6. Think of Tomorrow
3:20 $0.99
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7. Vicious Circle
2:34 $0.99
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8. Playing the Field
2:42 $0.99
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9. My Love Can't Be Disguised
2:19 $0.99
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10. Night and Day
2:43 $0.99
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11. Say Goodbye
2:45 $0.99
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12. Out of My Life
2:28 $0.99
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13. Free Agent
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


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Chumki

Stuart Todd. Talented Liverpool Musician. His music and my thoughts
STUART TODD
How to contact him: http://www.myspace.com/stuarttodd

Where to hear him: Hear some of his music on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stuarttodd

You can buy his latest CD, “A Question of Time” or individual tracks, from the following outlets/online:

Piccadilly records, Manchester: http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/products/StuartTodd-AQuestionOfTime-StuartToddRecords-66917.html

CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/StuartTodd

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/a-question-of-time/id348745628

Probe Records: On Slater Street, Liverpool

Hear him live at the following upcoming gigs:
3 July 2010: 21.00: The Golden Fleece Inn: Market Square, Tremadog Porthmadog Gwynedd,LL49 9RB:Tel. 01766 512421: http://www.goldenfleeceinn.com/events.php

16 July 2010: 20.00: View Two Gallery: 23 Mathew Street, Liverpool L2 6RE Tel.0151 236 9555: http://www.viewtwogallery.co.uk/events

Line ups:
Solo or with his full band, The Freebies

Stated influences include: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel, CSN&Y, Cream, The Kinks, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, CCR, Supergrass, 10cc, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Queen, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, XTC, Fine Young Cannibals, The Stranglers, The Police, Otis Redding, The Move, The Moody Blues, Manfred Mann, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, America, The Doobie Brothers, Carole King, James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Big Star, Lou Reed, The Byrds, The Doors, The Lovin' Spoonful, Love, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, David Gray, Billy Bragg, Bert Jansch, Pentangle, Nick Drake, John Martyn.

What he plays: Original material

My highly subjective and personal thoughts (Please forgive me if I misrepresent or misunderstand you):

Though I have often heard mention of Stuart Todd, it was not until recently that I had the honour of hearing this talented local musician, first on his latest compact disc, compiled in 2009,bringing together songs written over a period of five years, the beautifully musical and lyrical “A Question of Time” and then live at Novas’s Easter Music Festival, where he sang and played with his band, The Freebies, on this occasion a five piece, variously playing electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, electronic keyboards, drums and harmonica.

Though many festival groups suffered from the band room’s harsh acoustics, a briefest whisper of a “sound check” and an ubiquitous, partially and not very successfully miked drum kit, Stuart’s clear vocals and the band’s clean sound were more able to cope with inadequacies of the setting and set up, than most.

As in live performance, on CD Stuart’s voice has a beautiful mellow roundness and warmth, combined with sweet honesty which is deeply deeply touching. This is a voice with a lump in its throat conveying emotions behind and beyond words, delivering them straight to the heart, tugging at its strings.

This heart certainly skips an involuntary beat hearing the opening guitar sequence to “Dance like a Star” and then again at Stuart’s vocal entrance,” Everybody seeks a word to describe the way they’re feeling ... to share the pain... life is empty...may be filled again.... “, sung with such innocent wonderment I can’t deny tears gathering like storm clouds, nor the subsequent smile parting my lips, like sunshine through rain, emotions echoing the sentiment of the song , evoked so clearly I can see shimmering motes of light dancing down through raindrops, like the star dancer of the title, “there was rain, I saw the sun as if the world had begun when I looked in your eyes....”,”...the way you danced like a star, heaven knows who you are, like a voice in the sky...”, well.... this song is a little voice from heaven, a star shining brightly in my top tunes list, one I will probably love forever.

In describing the power of an unexpected fleeting pleasure, watching a girl “dance like a star”, to restore faith in a jaded world, this song is small but perfectly formed, the words “...at the end of the line they find there life is over... because they are older..”, leading us into the consideration of time and life that follows.
T
hough this was the song that initially sung itself round and round my head, having played the CD a few more times I find others have invaded the crenulations of my brain, playing themselves in my mind without conscious bidding.

Songs such as “Calm Before The Storm, about a “friendship completely turned to dust” ,containing the immortal line “As one half of a cosmic wheel, the other half got the better deal” and featuring a simple but touching ‘cello theme which weaves itself round Stuart’s guitar like regret.

The title track, “A Question of Time” is a classic, “Sixty seconds in a minute, we don’t concern ourselves... sixty minutes in an hour took for granted even more... when we no longer see the future we forget we have forever... so many days in a lifetime we never stop to count them all....”,”...death never knocks at the door it only takes you by surprise.... if living is the answer then timing is the question... so many days in a lifetime we never stop to count them all...” Familiar guitar riffs travel through this song as it passes through time, little nods and references to the Beatles and other bands whose names and songs are on the tip of my tongue but slip away just as fleetingly as time.

Then there is the tiny introverted introduction to the intensely moving “Three Silver Letters”, voice and acoustic guitar exploring loss, “Mother is grieving for her son. She can’t let go of her sorrow what can be done?..... Weary old man of the community, he’s lost his faith in himself and humanity...Man of the world he enjoys living wild yet he would help prevent the loss of a child...”and how the right words can deliver comfort and salvation, expressing so sympathetically feelings of grief and helplessness that loss brings, the withdrawing within, a Latinesque touch expressing release mingled with torment.

In “Life on the Line”, suicide is treated , in barber shop fashion, with a casualness that brings home just how easily life can slip away ,extinguished forever and how despite our common humanity we are alone in the mind’s eye, walking our interior world in isolation, often without understanding.” You decided to call it time....your life was on the line... while a train was rolling by..”, “ Twenty three without a dream... all those years that might have been... you had nothing left to live for..”,”... never found a place you could exist... you fought so hard to resist...when all the pieces didn’t fit”, “... drinking the last pint by yourself... thinking you could be somewhere else..”,”...how could you just let it go?”

The catchy tune that is “Playing the Field “has instigated itself in my mind despite myself, in its exploration of the eternal conflict between love and lust, the inclination to seek pleasure without consequence and avoid the commitment of love, “Trying to love the one that you’re with, can really be a struggle, when you find a true one you love, can only bring you trouble”.
Though the line “......playing the field is much more fun, with the one who wants you most because she thinks that you’re the one .....” does reveal a callous side which is slightly disturbing, playing on emotions as well as the field.

However, this theme dissolves into a sweet and simple love song, sometimes you cannot help but fall in love because, as the song “My Love Can’t Be Disguised” says “When I look In your eyes ,you make me want to smile”, after which, there is usually no return.

However, as we all know love may not be mutual or lasting and breaking up is hard, as Night and Day so poignantly reminds us, with the words “Finding it so hard to be without you. I think of you all night and day. ...... Someone stole your heart away.......Memories too painful to remember ... I have never been more anxious to surrender... I didn’t want to have to suffer for you...The only one.... I know I’ll never be complete without you”, a falling bass line sliding into heartbreak under quietly weeping guitar.

Finally a quiet and resigned “Say Goodbye”, the jilted or jilter poignantly alone with guitar in quiet reflection of love lost, “Time to say goodbye to you. Think I’ll miss you till the end of time”

Like his voice, Stuart’s acoustic guitar sings with a sweet and light tone, glittering in the hands of a gentle and sensitive touch, whilst the lilt of his subtle, beautifully crafted bass lines add a warm caressing depth, a voice and guitar which cry your tears and smile your smiles, exploring with such sympathy the ordinary yet intensely personal themes which touch and make up our extraordinary lives, the passing of time, shattered dreams, joys and tribulations of love and friendship, loss, depression, disappointments, mistrust, loss of faith, grief, sorrow ,wonderment, the things that make us human. In the misquoted words of Beth Orton, another of my favourites, whom on occasion Stuart puts me in mind of, those butterfly moments so hard to pin down or like catching snow on your tongue.

This translates well to live performance whether band based or acoustic, which makes Stuart’s music with or without his Freebies, extraordinarily flexible, a testament to the strength of his spare and direct song writing, which sings clearly and sweetly, whether alone, accompanied by the lightest touch of acoustic guitar or more fully orchestrated. In all guises, the simple clarity of his message shines.

The remarkable thing about the songs Stuart pens is the poetry of his words and the connection between them and his music, there is no conflict or contrivance, each tune perfectly paints the picture directly on the mind’s eye, delivered straight to the heart, a direct route to emotion. Though the tunes appear to happily shimmer like sun on water, their sentiments actually reach deep into the well of the human psyche with shattering and heart rending honesty, a skill and gift indeed.

He can equally well take the shine out of life as put the sun in the sky.

Then comes the flip side, two bonus tracks on his “Question of Time” CD, “Out of my Life” and “Free Agent”, which though still introspective, like much of the CD proper, reveal another more cynical side to Mr Todd, possibly less appealing where, like a diver coming up for air from the deep well of his soul, Stuart seems to vent an anger previously suppressed. However, this is real life and as the saying goes, shit happens and hardens us all.

The sleeve of the CD suggests this consolidation, a journey through five years of Stuart’s song writing life, is a precursor to new material Let us hope Stuart takes a deep breath and once more takes the plunge into deeper water. Only time will tell but I am sure he will “Dance like a Star”.
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